Dogs’ defenders pass on draft; QB Mason will stay, redshirt

ATHENS — At one point, Georgia football coach Mark Richt conceded Friday, he feared losing as many as a half-dozen underclassmen to this year’s NFL draft.

“It’s kind of scary to think you might lose two, three, four, five, six great players,” Richt said. “If you looked at the worst-case scenario for who might leave, there was certainly going to be a youth movement around here.”

As it turned out, though, all of Georgia’s draft-eligible juniors except tight end Orson Charles decided to return for their senior seasons.

Among those who seriously considered entering the draft but decided to stay in school: outside linebacker Cornelius Washington, defensive end Abry Jones and defensive backs Bacarri Rambo, Sanders Commings, Shawn Williams and Branden Smith.

“We had options, and we chose to stay,” Washington said. “That just shows everybody we really want to do something big next season.”

Charles announced his departure several days ago, and Georgia so welcomed the other players’ decisions to stay that it held a news conference Friday to spread the word.

Friday also brought word that sophomore backup quarterback Hutson Mason, who had been considering transferring, has decided to remain at UGA, where the plan will be to redshirt him next season to ensure that his eligibility extends beyond starting quarterback Aaron Murray’s.

Without the redshirt, Mason’s eligibility would expire after the 2013 season, the same as Murray’s. But with the redshirt, Mason is ensured of having at least one season after Murray vacates the quarterback position -– or two seasons if Murray decides to leave for the NFL a year from now.

“Coach Richt and Coach [Mike] Bobo offering me a redshirt was a huge pivotal point and my deciding factor,” Mason said. “I was almost 100 percent leaving until I went and talked to them and they said they were interested in me redshirting.”

Mason and Richt acknowledged the possibility that the redshirt plan could be scratched if Murray gets injured, particularly early in the season. But otherwise, the plan will be to go into the season with Christian LeMay as Murray’s backup. LeMay was redshirted as a freshman last season.

Mason said that if he had left, he would have sought to transfer to another FBS school, meaning he would have had to sit out next season. So it made sense to him to take the redshirt at Georgia rather than elsewhere.

“My heart’s here,” said Mason, who is from Marietta. “I want to win a championship here.”

“He’s outstanding in our system, and it fits him extremely well in my opinion,” Richt said. “I think he made a great decision.”

Murray was noncommittal on whether next season will be his last in college before entering the NFL draft.

“I can’t predict what’s going to happen,” Murray said. “We’ll see how next season goes.”

Georgia’s prospects for the season were bolstered by the unanimous decisions of the defense’s draft-eligible underclassmen to forgo the draft. Several said they were advised by the NFL’s underclassmen advisory committee that they could have been selected as high as the third round.

Richt said the Bulldogs had more players than usual consider the draft, “and for good reason because they’re going to end up in the NFL one day.”

Outside linebacker Jarvis Jones made it clear all season that he would be back, and Rambo announced his return several days ago. Rambo told Richt at one point that he would enter the draft, but subsequently changed his mind. Jones and Rambo were named first-team All-Americans by the Associated Press.

Several other defensive players had not revealed their stay-or-go choices until Friday, and some said the decision was agonizing.

“I was still undecided until today,” Smith said. “I felt like I was back in high school being recruited again, just trying to make a decision. I know I made the right decision, sticking with the team one more year.”

“Just the thought of [the NFL], you might get excited about it,” Abry Jones said. “But I thought about the year we could have, and I thought, ‘Might as well give it one more shot and have some more fun in college.’”

294 comments Add your comment

Taco Meat

January 13th, 2012
4:22 pm

Awesome! Looking forward to great things in 2012… GO DAWGS!!

bucket

January 13th, 2012
4:23 pm

Glad to see that everyone is returning on the defense! Still wonder why competition is such a dirty word at QB.

tgueboy

January 13th, 2012
4:25 pm

tgueboy

January 13th, 2012
4:27 pm

looks like the Dawgs are finally gonna get that ring in 2012

Jeff

January 13th, 2012
4:27 pm

How sweet it is…….now if we can learn playcalling in the off season….(bobo???)

td

January 13th, 2012
4:28 pm

I think the players smell something special about next season.

RomeDawg

January 13th, 2012
4:29 pm

Something special is about to happen in Athens!

GTBob

January 13th, 2012
4:30 pm

Why would they leave? Outside of Charles and Jarvis Jones does UGA really have any players that will be drafted high?

DIT

January 13th, 2012
4:30 pm

Anyone else kind of scratching their head over the decision to “redshirt” next year? I just find that kind of odd. I would have thought he would of had a good chance to compete after the misques by Murray in all of the big games this year.
I wonder what LeMay is thinking right now.

pj

January 13th, 2012
4:31 pm

Wow – pretty darn good news day. We keep our monster D intact, have QB security for 3 years and get Gurley. Go Dawgs! (Our 2 deep on D for 2012 is the strongest its been since 2002. Sick.)

WDE

January 13th, 2012
4:32 pm

So lets see out of 6 possible players bolting we end up with one…and we are putting together a petty darn good recruiting class….no wonder the trolls are howling so loudly fear will do that to them!

DIT

January 13th, 2012
4:32 pm

Crap. I leave the other blog to get away from GTTool and low and behold, there she is. Just get it over with and sau it. Your so envious of UGA because they OWN your pesky team.

Lakedawg

January 13th, 2012
4:34 pm

Great choice by Hutson, for him and Dawgs. IF and hope it never happens that Murray were to get hurt he would still be able to play and not take the redshirt. Transferring he would have to sit a year and start all over and could face same situation as at Ga.

bulldawg 32

January 13th, 2012
4:34 pm

we will never win anything until we learn how to WIN a big game..dont know if Murray can do it..open up the QB competition and give Mason a chance

GTBob

January 13th, 2012
4:34 pm

no wonder the trolls are howling so loudly fear will do that to them!

Do you want to make your National Champions prediction now?

Mark

January 13th, 2012
4:35 pm

bucket
January 13th, 2012
4:23 pm

Glad to see that everyone is returning on the defense! Still wonder why competition is such a dirty word at QB.

Couldn’t agree with you more bucket. I just can’t seem to become attached to Murray. He doesn’t show up in big games for some reason. Yes he has set some records at UGA, but also has been lost in the sauce in some big games. I would have loved to see Mason in some of those games last year. In reality we should have stomped the Gators, but Murray missed some wide open targets. Has anyone seen some of the video’s on Faton Bauta? I looked at some the other night, and he looks like the real deal. In my opinion every position each year should be won by the better player. It’s all about heart and hunger.

Murray needs a signature WIN and Season

January 13th, 2012
4:36 pm

Murray needs to tune up his game. He is so inconsistent and downright sloppy at times with the ball. He has COST UGA about 4 or 5 games with his pic 6s or fumbles that end up in quick 6 TD jaunts, like vs Florida in 2010 and SC this past year or LSU.

He cannot win …….YET in the big games. He chokes …………..so far. His critical game mistake are excellent indicators of his choking too.

I sure hope that QB Christian Lemay can step in and COMPETE with Murray for some major PT. Murray has simply not done a thing beyond his nice TD stats. Heck, QB Zeke Bratkowski held some UGA passing records until a few years back. He played for Wally Butts in the 50s and UGA won nothing with him either. Zeke did eventually play and coach in the old NFL of the early to mid 60s ……………..which WILL BE FAR MORE than Aaron Murrray ever gets to do in that arena.

THE FANS and the alumni expect Murray to pick up his game by at least 20% and be mistake free with that pigskin …………..otherise maybe Lemay gets to play.

UGA man
Class of 71 & 73

Ward

January 13th, 2012
4:36 pm

Here is hoping that the offensive line can come together fast next year… If so, our defensive depth and talent should be able to win us a lot of games… This is very exciting news and I look forward to Marshall & Gurley together with Samuel/Hicks at FB… Great depth at WR and TE should still be a strength… Here is to hoping that Murray really matures a lot over the spring and summer; I like Mason’s release a lot better and in limited action he has been much more mature in his reads/progressions… I guess Lemay is thinking he better do a good job next year if he wants to be out Mason the following year.

dawgster

January 13th, 2012
4:38 pm

Great news for the dawgs…I would caution the dawg fans in tempering expectations for next year, as you know we will get some heat from haters on here(GT Bob never lets us down)….But it is great news that the guys are coming back and if the Rb’s perform up to expectations, we should be very good at that position…Still need to shore up the O-line…Proud that Mason chose to be part of the dawgs, you have to admire and respect the young man for sticking it out….I think he will do just fine..Bottomline with him is that he will redshirt, but can step in if Murray goes down….great day for the dawgs, our fans, coaches…Not a great day for GT Bob…@GT Bob…hate to single you out, but you consistantly bash the dawgs regardless of any merit…Doubtful anyone on here has any respect for you…Must be sad to be you…but everyone has a story, and I don’t know yours, so maybe you deserve some respect…go dawgs

Spanky

January 13th, 2012
4:38 pm

Okay, so now we know LeMay will back Murray up AND be brought in for special plays…excellent! Also, heard quite a bit about Bauta(sp?),..is he all that and a bag of chips? Go Dawgs!!

WDE

January 13th, 2012
4:38 pm

@GTBob nope never have but I will predict we will continue to beat the Bugs and compete for the SEC East and the SEC…and Bob you don’t howl our of fear, nope your so beat down your howling for someone to put you out of you misery.

GaDawgs7

January 13th, 2012
4:40 pm

GTBob said:
Why would they leave? Outside of Charles and Jarvis Jones does UGA really have any players that will be drafted high?

LOL LOL seriously??? LOL A Georgia Tech fan said that???? LOL No, seriously LOL You mean Stud Tech with all your first round picks??? LOL I’m thinking you must sniffing the grease over at the Varsity…….but you ARE a funny, funny man lol

GTBob

January 13th, 2012
4:40 pm

but I will predict we will continue to beat the Bugs and compete for the SEC East

If you fired all of your coaches, kicked all current players off the team and had an open tryout you would still do these things. GT and the SEC East aren’t exactly something to write home about.

GT BOBDUFUS

January 13th, 2012
4:41 pm

Go back to your out house at the GEEK school and get use to being the third rated football program in the state!!!

Spanky

January 13th, 2012
4:41 pm

LOL, sorry Mark, you answered my question! Thank u!

ub

January 13th, 2012
4:42 pm

There needs to be competition at every position to compete for nat champ and BOBO must improve the play calling. GO DAWGS!

ZinoDawg

January 13th, 2012
4:42 pm

10 out of 11 GTBob – more of those pesky facts for you to ponder while you scratch your butt with your slide rule.

Here’s a prediction for you – we will kick Tech’s a$$ yet again!

Bean Counter

January 13th, 2012
4:43 pm

This is great news! We are going into 2012 with a good group of experienced Seniors on defense. With Gurley and Marshall coming into the backfield along with Crowell and the others that are already there, all we need is a good crop of linemen and I think they are there.

2012 should be a good year. Go Dawgs!!!

GTBob

January 13th, 2012
4:43 pm

Here’s a prediction for you – we will kick Tech’s a$$ yet again!

Gee, you are really going out on a limb there.

bucket

January 13th, 2012
4:45 pm

At this point I don’t think that Murray has cost UGA a championship of any sort, but his carelessness with the ball has cost them a couple of games. The worst part of that is he hasn’t owned his mistakes and learned from them yet (See comments following Michigan State). I am NOT a Murray hater and cheer for him louder than anyone else in Sanford Stadium, I just hope that we don’t squander a golden opportunity to win the SEC next year because we don’t treasure the football.

North Georgia Dawg.

January 13th, 2012
4:45 pm

Thank you Mason.

Spanky

January 13th, 2012
4:46 pm

GTBob! LMAO!!! You’re still on here giving a giant f*** about our football program!! Bless your heart!

GTBob

January 13th, 2012
4:47 pm

but his carelessness with the ball has cost them a couple of games

He isn’t very good. UGA is stuck with a bad coach who is stuck with a bad QB. Their master plan to solve this is to sign 20 RB’s.

Paddy

January 13th, 2012
4:48 pm

Just great news for the Dawgs today!!!!!!

I have stayed on the sidelines about Crowell this season. The kid will get another chance to prove he is a SEC rb. The competition he has now will let us all see if he is all we hoped he would be. It could really be a monster backfield.

Dbalcer

January 13th, 2012
4:48 pm

Great news for the DAWGS!!

paint

January 13th, 2012
4:48 pm

it’s definitely interesting, and a mystery, how much true “competition” there is. personally, instead of laying off the gas as much as we did this year in the second half with moderate leads, i would prefer to get these guys some real reps on geniune competition. some guys practice better, some play and lead better.
maybe the plan is to have the best scout squad in the nation. baffles me.

good class.

OkieDawg

January 13th, 2012
4:49 pm

The reason some of the juniors were looking at jumping to the NFL is because they will be seriously challenged for playing time by some of this year’s freshman and sophomore corp. There are some young guys that have one or two years of college and are ready to step up. 2012 is going to be a great year for the Dawgs and a horrendous year for Tech…and that’s how it should be.

Troll Power Ratings

January 13th, 2012
4:49 pm

@GTBob: Come on Bobby, get with the program! You were the eighth person to post. An experienced troll like you is better than that. C’mon, man! Got to get in the top 5 to show your true love!

Mark

January 13th, 2012
4:49 pm

Spank, Faton is also like 6′3″ so batted balls at the line wouldn’t be as prevalent as Murray’s batted balls. Nothing would tick me off more than to have a wide open receiver, and Murray throw the ball directly into a DL. Maybe Murray will surprise us this year though, but that’s what I said before this past season as well. Murray has all the potential in the world, but I think he lacks confidence. A confident QB looks angry or at least zoned in big games. Look at Murray’s face next year during a big game. He looks petrified.

HedgesHaven

January 13th, 2012
4:50 pm

GTBob,

Your ability to get under people’s skin is undeniable…I love reading your posts and the reactions they cause

RiffRaff

January 13th, 2012
4:50 pm

GTBob still sleeps with his mom.

dawgster

January 13th, 2012
4:51 pm

@Mark and Buckett…There is competition at QB throughout the spring and during the season…I know this for a fact….Two reasons, a certain kin of mine is on the squad and has stated on more than one occasion that Murray is ahead of everyone else on the depth chart as far as making the reads and putting the offense in the right play along with the more polished and accurate passer at this point…Also, know TK very well along with his dad, and he more than anyone knows who the better QB is at this point…Doesn’t mean that things couldn’t change, but the argument about Murray being handed the job without any competition is completely wrong….Did Murray make some mistakes in some big games for us…yes….but anyone that has played or coached this game realizes that its a team game…Hard to pin every mistake on Murray…one missed assignment from our O-line and Murray can be forced into a bad play or if a WR runs the wrong route or doesn’t see what the defense is giving us vs what Murray sees can make it appear that it all on the QB if an interception occurs…People do realize that Qb’s throw to a spot at times and expect the receiver to be there…Its about timing…But not saying that Murray doesn’t need to do a better job in protecting the ball…I think he would agree with that…go dawgs

McDawg

January 13th, 2012
4:52 pm

seniors=leadership=championships

WDE

January 13th, 2012
4:53 pm

@GTBob face it you’d trade a least one nut (if you still have one) for a SEC east title…or a ACC title that they let you keep. And I personally love the way you wallow in how bad the Bugs are while spewing insults at the Bull Dog Nation I really find that endearing.

pj

January 13th, 2012
4:53 pm

Keys to 2012:
1. No more pick 6’s
2. Pray that our new kickers can do the job
3. Hope that Gates, Andrews, Lee and Theus can move the line and protect Murray
4. Educate our RB’s on the consequences of smoking pot
5. Go for the throat on Offense in the 2nd half of games

We do those 5 things, we win the East again.

BiggDawgK

January 13th, 2012
4:53 pm

Ane Todd Gurley is the newest member of Bulldog Nation. What a happy Friday the 13th for Bulldog fans and a curse for all those unlucky enough to be a Georgia rival.

WDE

January 13th, 2012
4:55 pm

@RiffRaff lets maintain some class . Your comment was a insult to GT Bob’s mom, she would never stoop that low.

paint

January 13th, 2012
4:56 pm

true words dawgster.

Foothills

January 13th, 2012
4:56 pm

“Something special about to happen in Athens.” What? Will they re-open the library on game day?

AugustaDawg

January 13th, 2012
4:57 pm

All great news! Gotta shape up special teams and play calling. Not the plays themselves, but when and how often. We have the talent and favorable schedule. Looking forward to a big 2012. It’s like waiting 9 months for a baby